A Review of Learning Tools Pt. 1: HBR, Blinkist, Coursera, Masterclass, LinkedIn and Audible

I am obsessed with learning.

Perhaps it’s an iteration that’s only possible because of my age — but let me tell you, I wasn’t always this intense. I have always been inclined to learn, or in some cases, behavioral research as some people would put it but this exact period of my life, I feel have been the most intense I’ve ever been. More than I ever been in school. It’s been 13 years since I left school but only after the age of 30 that I’ve fully embraced learning beyond school.

A bit about my school days: I hated it. I didn’t like my developing years and I wanted to venture beyond what was taught in school. I thought they were most of the time obsolete {I went to a state school, so..} but teachers were compassionate and they shared their own stories and learning and wisdom and to me, that saved the experience. Other than that, I learned life through experiences, meeting people, being out there and well, a lot of challenges.

Now that I am in my 30s and very well immersed in my work, career, growth and household management, I am trying to learn as much as I can when I can. For a whole decade, and perhaps because it was brought about by social media and my decade of traveling — I mostly read for entertainment.

Now, I am more than ever, trying to learn every day in pockets of time that I luxuriously can use to learn and be inspired to improve myself, and with myself, a society, women, this nation. Sounds corny but it’s true. I want to learn to be a better person I can improve this country that I most of the time, hate so much, too.

  • Due to a request, I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the tools I’m currently using to optimize learning for my lifestyle.

  • Coursera. This is one of my first few apps that I used intensively to study courses offered in Ivy League schools like Stanford, Yale and UPenn. Through this platform, I was able to study Neuroeconomics and Behavior, Science of Well Being, Game Theory and Design Thinking!
    Experience: The app does not work in the background so I need to be focused on it which takes me a long time to finish courses. I failed a lot of quizzes as well with Neuroeconomics LOL and had to retake the quiz until I could pass.
    Price: Some courses are free, some are paid for around $50-60 at least the ones I took.
    Good for you if: You have a lot of idle time or can devote time to studying this and focusing.
    Rating: 3/5

  • Masterclass. I am sure that if you live in Social Media, you cannot escape the omnipresent advertising of Masterclass featuring the world’s most popular artists like Neil Gaiman, Annie Leibowitz, Natalie Portman, Penn Jilette, among others. Mike was the one who wanted this class but we do share it sometimes (when he’s not using it) and so far, he’s the one with more use for it. He has finished Deadmau5’s class so far and Penn & Teller’s magic class. As for me, I only started Annie Leibowitz and Howard Schultz but havent’t finished. Could be a bit slow in terms of pace for me and there are no numbers/graphs {LOL} so I do get bored sometimes.
    Price: PHP 8,995 for annual access
    Good for you if: Your line of work or hobbies are along the lines of magic, cooking, photography, music or you’re truly passionate about those topics.
    Rating: 3/5

  • LinkedIn Learning. I only learned of this platform because it came free with my LinkedIn Premium and wow —- I actually finished two courses in 2 days! I guess it was mostly because I could do Audio only and while doing other things so that was very helpful. I love the experience because it was fast and there’s an audio only option. I especially liked that the portfolio of lessons included both soft skills {negotiations, saying no, being a storyteller} and technical lessons like Excel, Tableau, SEO. I find the price rather steep but what the heck, if you have the time, this is very much worth it!
    Good for you if: You like passive learning and something to add on LinkedIn.
    Price: USD 29.99/mo or around PHP 1650/mo.
    Rating: 4/5

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  • Audible. Technically, this is not a learning platform in the sense that it will not tell you you’re reading the best things LOL but I’ve been at my Audible subscription for months now and like I said when I wrote about Melinda Gates’ book, Moment of Lift, I felt like it was easier to transition to audio form of learning. I’m on my 3rd book now. Each month of subscription gets you 1 Audible and I’m super happy!
    Good for you if: You learn through audio.
    Rating: 4/5
    Price: PHP 822/month

  • Blinkist. Again, not a learning platform per se but a quick tool to read through different books in 7 blinks (pages, essentially) and get the gist of what it’s about. I personally like this app so much cos then I don’t have to buy all the books and just get a taste of those I want to try. Especially now, I don’t want to buy physical copies books anymore and save the space for the pretty coffee table ones. Everything else will be an Audible or a Kindle copy.
    Good for you if: You like skimming through books or want a summary of books before you can read them.
    Rating: 3.5/5
    Price: PHP 2,899/6 months, promo

  • Harvard Business Review. Again, not a learning platform per se, but a portfolio of the best reading material on management and career development. I’ve always been a reader of HBR and enjoyed the magazines I could read back in the day when I worked for a boss who subscribed to it. Now that I have a partner who valued such articles, I could split my HBR Premium with him as we both enjoy the articles, visuals, studies and eBooks.
    Good for you if: You like management articles, case studies and executive perspectives.
    Experience: 4.5/5
    Price: PHP 1200/mo

Overall: I know that I cannot possibly retain everything forever cos it’s all going to be very expensive together with my other recurring purchases ie. Spotify, Netflix, this domain, Evernote, etc. so I am still deciding which one to keep. Very likely I’ll keep Blinkist for until the end of the 6 months and HBR — will cut if I stop reading it, which is unlikely though. Possibly won’t renew Masterclass after a year and happy that Coursera is free for the ones I don’t need a certificate for.